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The One Reason I’m Actually Looking Forward to Back to School in 2020

Brandi Jeter Riley

SheKnows is proud to partner with BAND-AID® Brand to celebrate 100 Years of Care. Through this partnership, we are lifting up the stories of the most important caregivers in our lives and thanking them for their invaluable service — providing care on the front lines both inside and outside of the home. 

This was supposed to be a big year for our family. It was the first year of preschool for our little boy, and we were all so excited. I remember walking with him to pick out his tiny backpack and how excited he was to fill it with his snack, water bottle and change of clothes. 

The night before school started, he couldn’t stop talking about all of the things he was looking forward to the next day. He took our word about what we told him to expect in preschool and kept saying things like, “My teacher will sing songs in preschool,” and “My teacher will read lots of books!” He was absolutely right. His preschool teacher did all of that and more. 

The first half of the year was smooth sailing. My husband and I were blown away by her gentle nature and how much she empowered the children in her care. Not only that, we loved watching her be a leader to the other teachers, and a great support to all of the parents. Our son came home every day with new skills, a bigger vocabulary, and (most importantly) completely tuckered out. And she did all of that in just three hours a day! 

Her dedication to seeing our son as an individual and supporting us in encouraging his growth was the support we didn’t know we needed as parents. Now, I don’t know how we would have done it without her.

Then, everything changed

Just as we were settling into the new school semester, the world changed. School was canceled and parents of preschoolers everywhere were left trying to figure out what to do with super active little ones while balancing work, other kids, and not knowing what was coming up next.

I panicked for a little bit. My baby boy had made so many strides under his teacher’s care, and I knew there was no way for me to match all that she did to teach him the things he needed to learn as a preschooler. Fortunately for me, his teacher showed up for us in a big way. 

After a two-week break, I can’t tell you how happy I was to get an email from the preschool with the subject line “Story Time!” It might have only been twice a week for thirty minutes each, but to our family it meant a return to some sense of normalcy. And to my preschooler? It meant the world. 

If above and beyond were a person, it would be her.

She didn’t have to do it. Tuition was paused for all families, and there was no expectation that our kids would receive any programming — especially for free. 

But she showed up, twice a week, every week, never missing a beat. Then, as if that weren’t enough, his teacher set up one-on-one time with each of the kids so that they could get her undivided attention. And in addition to that, she put together lessons every week for the children. The lessons were complete with craft kits that we could pick up outside of the school building. Every week my son’s preschool teacher did this, for every child. If above and beyond were a person, it would be her. 

Re-Opening Classes This Fall

As if she couldn’t be more awesome, she surprised us with a new program for the fall. The outdoor learning model that will allow our kids to come back to school — in-person — while taking into account their safety is genius.

We rushed to sign up for a spot because it’s a brilliant concept. Children will learn by exploring nature? I wish I could have signed myself up, too. We mostly signed up, though, because of her. She is the heart of the preschool, and we all know it.  We’re grateful that our children will have that time with her, because we know how much better it makes life for them, even when they’re not at school. 

I have to thank our teacher for all that she has done for our family, for our child. Even as she was dealing with the same types of challenges as the rest of the world, she found time and space to show up for these kids. To show up for my kid. 

She added sunshine to days that felt really dreary, and was the reason for lots of smiles, singing and laughter in our home. What might have just been another day of work for her was the absolute best day ever for a certain little boy who talks about his teacher all the time.

So, from my family to our teacher: thank you. We appreciate you. And we’re grateful to you for the love and dedication you show, even when times are tough. You’re more than a preschool teacher; you’re my family’s hero.

This article was created by SheKnows for BAND-AID® Brand. BAND-AID® is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson.

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